The last day: Goodbyes are hard, even when you know they’re right.
Time is a tricky thing; sometimes you’re standing in a brand new moment before realizing the last one has passed, and other times you’re glued to what seems like a never-ending hour.
My last three weeks were neither of those and both of them all at once.
Afternoons were the worst. With my pile of projects dwindling by the day, lunch would pass and I’d be left with nothing to do but endlessly scroll Twitter. Which I did. A lot.
I slowly started writing cards to those who impacted me the most: not just co-workers, but friends. People who shone a little bit of brightness in an otherwise dim place. People who told me dad jokes on days I seriously doubted I remembered how to laugh.
People who gave me the slightest reason to stay.
When I wasn’t scrolling or doling out cards, I was daydreaming about where I’d go next, who I’d meet, what I’d achieve, and what would happen if this all went to shit. (To be fair, that last part was more like a nightmare.)
And before I knew it, my last day had arrived. It was time to say my official goodbyes and cut ties with a job that felt more like a soul-crushing, energy-sucking monster.
No looking back now.
What I learned from leaving: Your breaking point is often where you’ll find your answers.
I think it’s good to find your breaking point. To walk to the edge of what you can handle and teeter precariously, just long enough to realize, “Yep—that’s my boundary,” before backing away and finding your center.
Learn what the rush of nearly shattering feels like against your skin, so that if you’re ever faced with that harsh breeze again, you know a storm is coming. You know to grab your parachute and jump.
I’m not mad I landed where I did. A bit annoyed, sure. But mad? No. I learned an encyclopedia’s worth of lessons both from staying and from leaving.
By staying I learned:
- Good workers don’t always equate to good leaders. Neither do good thinkers.
- The world is full of talented people planting their roots in someone else’s soil.
- There’s always something to be learned.
- Big fancy companies don’t feel so big and fancy when you’re part of them.
- My self-control goes out the window the second someone brings in homemade treats.
By leaving I learned:
- The anxiety of no plan is much less suffocating than the anxiety of the wrong plan.
- Everyone will want to know where you’re headed, why you’re leaving, and what’s next for you—speak kindly—this is not the time to burn bridges—but speak wisely—this is not the time to fill gossip columns.
- When you’re not blooming, people can tell. No one will be surprised when you decide it’s time to uproot.
- Like stars, possibilities are infinite, as long as you believe they are.
My “after”: Walking into the unknown is terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time.
I’ve been a planner my entire life. I chuckle thinking of the one year (seventh grade) I decided planning wasn’t for me. My teacher handed out notebook-sized planners and encouraged the class to use them to keep track of homework, tests, and other events.
Mine bent and twist at the bottom of my backpack until I pulled it out mid-year in an attempt to find a lost sheet of homework.
It was empty, aside from my name and phone number on the front page.
Not that you have tons going on in seventh grade, but that year was a constant game of, “Will I remember the test date? Will I turn my papers in on time?”
Russian Roulette: homework style.
Since that year, I’ve written down every single tidbit about my life in both a planner and journal. I don’t miss a beat. My projects are completed days in advance and I’m ridiculously early to everything.
Needless to say, walking into this new period of life, blindfolded and clueless, had me feeling all types of anxious.
There was nothing to fill my planner pages with. It’s like seventh grade all over again, except this time the pages were empty because there’s actually nothing to fill them with—not because I lost my planner in a black backpack abyss.
It was terrifying.
If there’s nothing written down, what will I do? Who needs me? Where will I go? How will I know what’s expected of me? And how will I know when I’ve achieved it?
That’s where I was. Gazing out at a sea of possibilities and not knowing which boat to jump on first. Which wave to ride out to sea. Which adventure was calling my name the loudest.
My plan, if you wanted to call it that, was to listen deeply and intently to my intuition for the first time. To ask myself what I’m after and how exactly I want to get there—then actually do it. To refuse to settle comfily into a cushy life that meets my needs but starves my dreams.
To strip back the layers of false narratives I’ve painted over myself for years and years until I reveal the raw reality that lies underneath. And to look at that reality and say, “You’re worthy of living an abundantly happy and fulfilling life. Let’s go get it.”
Day by day. Little by little. Step by step. I’ll get there.
The hardest part was complete—walking away from a life not meant for me. Now is when the fun begins.
To be continued…